Can't cook, won't cook?

Is that you? Do you think cooking is old fashioned and a waste of time, when these days you could just microwave a ready meal or get a take-away? Why would you cook, when tasty food, cooked by someone else, is so easily available? Here are some reasons why you may reconsider: It’s healthier

When you cook your own food, you know exactly what’s in it. The more natural your ingredients, the more natural your food. You can buy organic meat, eggs, vegetables, fruits and nuts, but you don’t even have to. If you cannot afford organic food, buying regular ingredients and preparing meals with them is still a far cry from anything you could possibly buy ready made, whether that’s from a shop or a restaurant.

Your own freshly prepared food is not required to have a long shelf life, so no need for preservatives. You are cooking it in a pan, not a vat, and will be eating it soon after, so no need to add colouring to make it look more appealing. It is fresh, so it will already look more yummy than mass-produced ‘food’ ever could, even if you are not the most accomplished cook (yet!). You don’t need flavour enhancers, emulsifiers, anti-caking agents, trans fats, or vast amounts of sugar and/or fat to make your food palatable. Funnily enough, it is already nice as it is.

You can even adjust the food to your own nutritional requirements: If you don’t want sugar, gluten, nuts, dairy, animal protein or something else in your diet, they’ll be very easy to avoid when you cook from scratch. No problem at all!

It’s cheaper

Ready meals don’t seem to be expensive at all, and neither are many take-away options. But is it really cheap? Check out Jack Monroe’s blog “A girl called Jack”. This blogger from Southend fell on hard times a few years ago, had no money to pay her rent or electricity and was forced to feed herself and her baby son on a few pounds a week. When Jack did her supermarket shop, she had every penny allocated to specific items before she even went in the door … but none of those were ready meals. If those had been cheaper than cooking her own food then, trust me, that’s what she would have bought. Jack has written on the subject in the Guardian, far better than I ever could, and taken up the challenge to prove that cooking your own is cheaper. Have a read there!

It’s a skill

Cooking used to be something every girl learned from her mother - boys not so much, even though some chose to. It was a life skill, necessary for survival. Unfortunately these days, knowing how to cook has become a rare skill, and we are now looking at the second generation of mums (and dads) who never learned to cook, so their children are not very likely to either.

If you start cooking from scratch now, you’ll get better at it every time you do it and before long, you’ll have learned a new skill that you can pass on to your children. When they go off to university one day, they will know how to feed themselves proper food.

It’s fun

You may not believe it now, but who knows? Cooking might become your new hobby. The chopping, grinding, stirring and mixing helps me unwind after work. Maybe it can do the same for you. Cooking is social, too. You could assign simple tasks (that do not involve sharp objects, mind) to your children, while catching up with them about their day. You could cook with your partner or a group of friends and then enjoy a healthy, happy meal once you’re done.

It’s creative

This may take a little bit of experience. You may want to start with (simple) recipes and follow them, but in time, you will know how to replace ingredients you don’t have with something you do and eventually you might even be able to come up with your own simple, but yummy creations. I will post suggestions on how to do that here in future. Watch this space.

So, what’s not to like?